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FreeHand does wave

Freehand Graphics Studio 7 to include the company's Shockwave multimedia technology.

Macromedia yesterday on the eve of its developer conference announced that its upcoming FreeHand Graphics Studio 7 will incorporate Shockwave, the company's popular Internet multimedia streaming technology.

Shockwave is a browser plug-in that plays graphics, video and animation files created with Macromedia products. The most popular Shockwave viewer is for the multimedia authoring application Director. The company recently introduced a version of Shockwave strictly for audio to compete against Progressive Networks' RealAudio.

In Studio 7, the cornerstone FreeHand 7 program -- a hefty numerical jump from the current FreeHand 5.5 -- as well as two updated graphics tools will now support Shockwave, allowing users to add hyperlinks, image maps and anti-aliased fonts to graphics. The Netscape Navigator plug-in will be included in the box when Studio 7 ships this fall. Active X controls for Microsoft Internet Explorer will be posted to Macromedia's Web site in October.

The applications in Studio 7 will also share a new user interface common to all Macromedia (MACR) products.

The Shockwave support will extend to XRes 3, a high-resolution image editing tool, to let Web browsers view high-resolution graphic files without a full download. Users will also be able to pan and zoom within an image created in XRes 3. Like FreeHand 7, xRes 3 will support standard Internet file formats such as JPEG and transparent GIF.

Studio 7 will also include Extreme 3D 2 for building three-dimensional graphics, models, and online virtual worlds with VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) 1.0 and 2.0. The program will give developers the choice between competing 3D application programming interfaces by supporting Microsoft's Direct 3D and Apple's QuickDraw 3D.

Studio 7 will also include Fontographer 4.1.

FreeHand Graphics Studio 7 for Windows 95, NT, Mac 68K and PowerPC will be available this fall for $449, the same price as the current version. The products in Studio 7 will also sell separately for $399 each.